Dental Implants 101: An Introduction Blog

28 August 2016

Dental Implants 101

Dental implants serve as replacement tooth roots, thereby offering a strong base for fixed or removable replacement teeth that are designed to look like your own natural teeth. If you have had tooth loss, then typically you are a great candidate for dental implants. As long as you are in good health, implants are a viable solution for correcting a smile.

Advantages of Restorative Implants

Dentists list a number of advantages of having the implants, including:

  • An improved appearance. Dental implants have the appearance of real teeth. Also, because they fuse with the bone, they are considered permanent replacement teeth for the patient.
  • Improved speech. Dental implants permit you to talk without concern as they resemble natural teeth in both function and appearance.
  • Enhanced comfort. Unlike dentures, permanent implants stay in place and never have to be removed or adjusted. Therefore, they are far more comfortable.
  • Easier chewing. Dentures, which can slide, can cause you to have difficulties chewing. Because dental implants function like real teeth, you can eat your favourite foods without discomfort or pain.
  • Improved dental health. Implants do not require the reduction of a tooth, like a tooth-anchored bridge. The adjacent teeth are not altered to support the implants. As a result, more of the natural teeth are left untouched, improving your oral health. Implants permit easier access between the teeth, which improves daily oral hygiene as well, so long as you practice brushing and flossing.
  • Implants are durable and last many years. With regular maintenance, many implants can last the rest of a patient’s life.
  • Implants eliminate the inconvenience experienced with removing dentures. Also, adhesives are not needed to keep the teeth in place, making them overall the more convenient option.

If you are thinking about restoring your smile with implants, you first need to set up a consultation with your dentist. He or she will explain how the implant is placed and how long the process will last and how it works. The first step in the therapy is the creation of a treatment plan. The plan will address your dental needs so you can receive the best therapy for you.

How the Implant Is Designed
The root implant itself is a small post that is made out of titanium. The implant is positioned in the bone socket at the site of the missing or removed tooth. As the jawbone is healing, the bone surrounds around the metal post. In turn, the post is anchored securely into the jaw. The healing process for each implant may take from six to 12 weeks, and maintaining proper oral hygiene is imperative during this time.

After the implant is bonded to the jawbone, an abutment, which is a small linking post, is attached to the root post so the artificial tooth can be attached. The dentist, in turn, makes impressions of the teeth and makes a model of the patient’s bite. The new tooth will be based on the impression. The replacement tooth, often referred to and known as a crown, is affixed to the abutment. In some cases, patients use implants to support a removable denture.

Covid-19 and your care

We have now received clear guidance as to what dental procedures we can safely carry out and at what stages during the pandemic.

Below is a summary of the guidance as we understand it, although this may modify over the next few days as some small inconsistencies are clarified.

The government has set five different risk levels for the pandemic 1-5 (low to high), although this changes on a daily basis.

The treatments that we can carry out safely in dental practice will change with the risk level.

Treatments are significantly limited at level 4.

During the next few weeks, we will attempt to contact each patient that has contacted us with a significant dental problem during lockdown, and we hope to book an assessment appointment for those patients in the week commencing 8th June.

Practice doors will be locked at level 3, 4 and 5. Entry to the practice will be limited to pre-booked appointments.

There will be very clear criteria provided in due course as what is required before arriving at the practice, and what the procedure will be upon arrival. We will endeavour to ensure that each person knows exactly what to expect at their visit as this will be quite different to what you have been used to.

The appointment diary will be structured to take into consideration those patients who are shielding, may have underlying medical issues and so on.

The first week is expected to be a slow start as we ensure that the new protocols are working effectively for everyone’s safety. These protocols will be audited and modified until required.

At level 4 we should be able to carry out the following:

Dental assessment (initially restricted to patients who have current urgent need, or did and contacted us during lockdown).

X rays but only for patients who tolerate them well.

TEMPORARY re cementation of crowns. (We cannot dry the tooth effectively enough to cement a crown permanently with the restrictions we face).

Fabrication or repair of removable dentures.

Simple dental extractions. If a tooth breaks, it is probable we will have to leave the roots in place until we are at a lower level of risk. Naturally, we will assess the risk very carefully prior to treatment.

Tightening of loose dental implants if possible, without using a high-speed handpiece (drill).

Temporary fillings.

Draining of a swelling/abscess.

Provision of antibiotics.

Trimming of sharp orthodontic wires (not reliable re cementation of loose brackets, or replacement of missing brackets).

Treatment is only to be offered after careful assessment.

Cosmetic orthodontics

Cheshire Dental Centre provide many of these treatments. We may now be able to progress some of our Quick Straight Teeth cases. We will be in touch with each patient shortly, but please allow us to contact you; we hope that it is understandable that we will be prioritising patients with urgent dental need.

The PPE (personal protective equipment) requirements for the above are not too onerous, and we will not look too different to normal. As you are aware, the cross-infection control at Cheshire Dental Centre has always been exemplary and one of our top priorities.

Although we have been organised with the new PPE guidelines well in advance there may be the occasional time where we are awaiting stock. All practices are attempting to source the necessary PPE we need to keep you and us safe, but supplies are scarce and consequently very expensive.